Kim, April 2013
One of the strange facts of life in the wine business is that $25 wines often beat $85 wines in shows, competitions or tastings. The $85 wine has probably had more work done to it, but that doesn’t guarantee a better outcome. This is all good news.
Most of us buy wines that cost more than $25 only for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, or as investments. Some brands position themselves for those occasions, for example Penfolds with its icon and luxury range (their words, not mine). These wines are bought by people who want to impress people. The name Penfolds is minted gold, but a Wynns black label Coonawarra Cabernet 2009 is more than equal to a Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet 2009, despite costing half as much.
The wines on this list are all easy to get hold of, unlike those on other 'best' lists that are often impossible to track down. We update these lists frequently to make sure that they stay current. Prices are 'street' prices rounded to the nearest dollar, bought in mixed 6-packs or mixed dozens.
Best's Great Western Riesling 2012 - $22, Kemenys
Great year in Great Western, and they made a great Riesling, bigger than usual (13%)
Dr Loosen Dry Riesling 2011 - $22, Kemenys
And now for something completely different: a German Riesling. Dr Loosen is a good bet
Brokenwood Pinot Gris 2012, Beechworth - $21 - Dan M's
More disciplined than the usual PG fare, tight and lean and long
Tyrrells HVD Semillon 2006 - $24, Kemenys
Tyrrells Belford Semillon 2007 - $24, Kemenys
Meerea Park Terracotta Semillon 2006 - $25, MyCellars
I'm not a great fan of Hunter Semillon, but lots of people are so I included three of the best here. They're all a few years old and have won buckets of trophies and medals so, if you like this style, these three are real bargains.
Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay 2012 - $24 at Dan M's
A refined style, elegant like a Chablis, perfect blend of delicate fruit and fine oak
Seville Estate Chardonnay 2010 - $25, MyCellars
A very fine, elegant Chardonnay, mineral backbone, great length, seamless, needs time
Lenton Brae Southside Chardonnay 2011 - $22, Kemenys
Seriously classy, elegant wine from a serious boutique maker in Margaret River
Greywhackie Sauvignon Blanc 2011 - $23, MyCellars or Nicks
A new benchmark Savvy from Kevin Judd, creator of Cloudy Bay
Seresin Sauvignon Blanc 2011 - $24, Dan M's
An object lesson to all those winemakers in Marlborough who've lost it
TarraWarra Pinot Noir 2010 - $21 at 1st Choice
Best current release Pinot Noir under $25 in my view. There's good colour, a Burgundian nose, authentic flavour and lfine length. Unlike most Pinots in this price range, it will improve for another year or two.
Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 -
I thought this was long gone - this was my top Cabernet of 2012, far better than the 2010 (and cheaper). Grab some more while you still can.
Woodlands Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2011 - $22.80, Dan M online
Great style, brooding complexity with depth and length - Pomerol at a bargain price
Maverick Twins Cabernet 2008- $20, MyCellars
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Petit Verdot Cab Franc made from Barossa and Eden Valley fruit. Medium bodied, elegant Bordeaux style of surprising polish. The 2009 is in the same style
Mitchell Sevenhill Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $24, Dan M online
Elegant Cabernet from Clare made the traditional way, offering mature flavours in the leather and tar spectrum balanced by developed blue fruits. The 2006 is available from the winery for $25.
Forest Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvigon 2010 - $22, MyCellars
More tightly wound than the Woodlands, will need time, very polished act
Leconfield Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 - $25, Kemenys
If you're not fussed about labels, buy the Hidden Label Coonawarra Cabernet 2010 for $18
Bests Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz 2011 - $25, Bests
Won the Jimmy Watson and the Trevor Mast Trophy
and the trophy for the best Victorian wine of the Melbourne Show just now. The Late Trevor Mast
made wine at Bests from 1975 to 1988. The wine is hard to find now except at Best's Cellar door
Pennys Hill Cracking Black Shiraz 2010 - $22, Kemenys
McLaren Vale. Best Full-bodied red at Sydney International Wine Comp, 2 trophies
Boxer Shiraz 2010 - $24,
kemenys or Nicks
And now a wine for really big red lovers-- super ripe, super rich, 16%, Parker loves this
You have been warned. Good description here: http://www.nicks.com.au/Product/View/2010-Mollydooker-The-Boxer-Shiraz/486348
As good as GSM gets, and not over-the-top big. Ridiculous value
Turkey Flat Grenache 2009 or 2010 - $22 Dan M's
Grenache on its own tends to be simple but not this one, made from very old vines
Pelorus Nv - $25, Winestar
The real thing, bready, yeasty flavours, good body and complexity. This is no citrus fruit cocktail with bubbles. Better than many champagnes I've tasted. Stunning value
Heggies Botrytis Riesling 2011 375ml - $22, Kemenys
Not cheap but said to be a great sticky. A change from the old Noble One